It would have been a good opportunity to visit Tokyo as the national athletes prepare for the 2020 Olympics next year.
However, it was not meant to be after Kuala Lumpur City Hall decided against participating in the 13th Asia Junior Exchange Games 2019 at the Japanese capital city from Aug 27-Sept 2.
The lack of funding is said to be the reason athletes from the Malaysian capital not see action there.
Four events – badminton, para-badminton, table tennis and para table tennis – are usually held during the annual meet various cities taking part. Kuala Lumpur joined Bangkok, Beijing, New Delhi, Hong Kong, Singapore, Taipei, Hanoi, Manila and Seoul among others in last year’s edition.
City Hall has yet to make its decision public but the Kuala Lumpur Badminton Association (KLBA) was informed about the non-participation last week.
Efforts to contact City Hall’s Culture, Arts, Tourism and Sports Department director Nazam Harun proved futile but insiders are aware of the decision, saying it came from the “top management” due to “budget constraints”.
It would cost some RM50,000 to send both the badminton and table tennis athletes and officials to the Games.
KLBA president Datuk Seri Jahaberdeen Mohamed Yunoos expressed disappointment over the decision.
“It’s a shame as Kuala Lumpur has always been participating in this competition and should rightfully be sending a team, given that Tokyo will host the Olympics next year,” said Jahaberdeen, who is also BA of Malaysia’s rules and discipline committee chairman.
“Since City Hall has not accepted the invitation, there is nothing much KLBA can do.”
Jahaberdeen added the association was not informed why City Hall decided against taking part this year.
Kuala Lumpur Table Tennis Association honorary secretary Christina Chee Shin Lian was in the dark over the decision.
“No, we have not heard from anyone and no one has informed me about anything (the decision).
“To my knowledge, we have participated in some editions and missed others,” adding she would wait for City Hall to notify the association.
New Delhi started trials for the inter-city tournament today.
The government of national capital territory of Delhi’s Directorate of Education (sports branch) issued a circular on May 31, listing the athletes who were chosen for the trials which end on Thursday.
The Singapore BA has also included the tournament in its competitions selection criteria for the year.